Diagnosing and Treating Diabetic Retinopathy in Dallas
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that occurs as a complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The eye’s retina is the nerve tissue located in the back of the eye that converts light rays to images via the optic nerve. Due to the constant spiking and plummeting of blood sugar levels, the blood vessels that nourish the retina become damaged, leading to impaired vision and possibly blindness, if left untreated. The longer that a person has diabetes, and the less regulated their blood sugar levels are, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. For this reason, diabetics and people who are obese (a risk factor for contracting diabetes) are urged to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year by a professional, such as the trained eye surgeons at Saland Vision, to detect this serious eye disease and to discuss proper treatment, if necessary.
The Two Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or NPDR, is the early stage of the disease and is often characterized by little, if any, symptoms. If a patient has NPDR, their retinal blood vessels become weak and cause tiny bulges in the vessel walls, which can then leak fluid into the retina and lead to the swelling or bleeding of the retina.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or PDR, occurs in the more advanced stage of this eye disease. With PDR, the retina becomes oxygen-deprived and begins to grow abnormal, fragile blood vessels that are on or close to the optic nerve or vitreous (the clear, gelatinous mass between the retina and lens). Cloudy vision, loss of vision and even blindness may result.
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy can only be detected by a trained eye surgeon, like those who practice at Saland Vision, with a comprehensive eye exam using pupil dilation. Patients who have diabetes should visit their eye doctor once a year to get their eyes checked for signs of diabetic retinopathy, whether they are displaying symptoms of the eye disease or not.
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Double vision
- Total or partial vision loss
- Seeing floaters or spots
- Eye pain or pressure
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is preventing it from occurring in the first place. Diabetics can avoid developing this eye condition by maintaining stable blood sugar levels through proper diet and good exercise habits. If a person develops diabetic retinopathy, these good lifestyle habits are particularly important in preventing or slowing the progressive vision loss that occurs as a result. Though there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy; as the condition gets worse, a surgical procedure may be needed to help prevent or delay any future vision loss.
Eye Surgeries Available at Saland Vision
At Saland Vision, we have several ways of treating diabetic retinopathy that, depending on the stage of the disease, can either slow or stop its progression. If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, it is recommended that you start treatment as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is started, the more likely that any permanent vision loss can be prevented.
Depending on the patient and the severity of the condition, our eye doctors may recommend one of a variety of treatments, including laser surgery (to shrink abnormal blood vessels and reduce swelling in the eye) and vitrectomy (to remove blood and scar tissue from the middle of the eye).
Schedule Your Eye Exam Today
If you have diabetes or are at risk for the disease, regular eye exams are essential for detecting symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, and preventing future vision loss. Regardless of whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of the disease, a yearly eye exam is recommended. To schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors, who are specially trained to detect this eye condition and plan proper treatment, contact Saland Vision.